Myths and Obstacles to Medical Transplants in India

Myths and Obstacles to Medical Transplants in India

A country like India is one of a dozen religions, cultures, traditions and about twenty times the number of superstitions. This, paired with low levels of education and high illiteracy rate and compounded by lamentable public awareness, and we have an abundance of widespread misconceptions, baseless beliefs and myths. Combine this with a somewhat flawed system of organ donation in India and we have tens of thousands of medical transplant patients losing their lives on a daily basis due to entirely preventable situations.

The statistics of medical transplants and organ donations in India are truly upsetting. For every 21,000 kidneys required by renal transplant patients, there are only 5,000 available donors. For every 200,000 livers needed, only 750 patients manage to find donors and get their liver transplant done. When Indian science minister VilasraoDeshmukh passed away in 2012, the head of the hospital he was treated at said that had he managed to find a liver donor and had his medical transplant performed in time, he may have survived. The fact that a minister failed to secure a donor says enough, doesn’t it?

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A possible solution in the present day

With medical expenses soaring higher with each passing day, there is a large population of Indian medical transplant patients that find it increasingly difficult to pay for their treatments and back out quite often, only to suffer in pain and become a burden to their families as they are unable to go to be productive at work. Medical crowdfunding is popularly becoming an ideal option for patients who cannot afford their procedures. Crowdfunding helps patients quickly and easily take contributions from their network of family, friends and other supporters who previously were unable to help them. To get started, read up on how crowdfunding works and then you can go ahead and start a fundraiser.

The five notorious myths on organ donations that prevail in India

“My religion does not let me donate my organ.” There are five major religions in the world and not a single one of them says a word against organ donation. A compilation by the University of Michigan shows that religion either supports organ donation or leaves the choice to each individual. In fact, some religions believe that giving up something personal for the health of another individual is considered a selfless act.

“I can only donate my organ after I die.” Wrong. There are two kinds of medical transplant donors; living and deceased. While many people know this, they still fail to actually pledge their organs to be donated after death. You can register for a donor card here.

“Donating an organ will affect my health.” Many people believe that doctors won’t make the necessary effort to save their lives after harvesting their organs. This is not true. If you go to a standard hospital, you can rest assured you are absolutely safe and that your procedure is performed by experienced hands.

“There’s a high possibility they may steal my other organs.” Media and its gory representation of groggy organ theft victims waking up in odd places with stitches on their bodies is one of the biggest reasons people today are unwilling to consider becoming living donors. Organ trade is strictly illegal and all medical transplants are monitored and videotaped, so you have nothing to fear.

There are several factors other than these myths that stand as obstacles in the organ donation system – the law stating that a non-related organ donor needs to undergo a screening before being permitted to donate to a patient is one of them. Another key factor that holds patients back from getting the transplant and treatment they need is the lack of funds. Medical crowdfunding is the go-to option these days and it has worked miracles for many patients in the past to raise the funds in a matter of days or weeks and afford their medical transplants in time.

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